Essay about Stevie Smith’s “Not Waving but Drowning” Metaphor

873 Words Jun 26th, 2012 4 Pages
Stevie Smith’s Metaphor of “Not Waving But Drowning” How is it possible to be surrounded by a million people yet feel so alone? In 1957, British poet Stevie Smith wrote a short poem, “Not Waving But Drowning,” composed of twelve lines broken up into three stanzas. The literal words of the poem leave the reader with the image of a distressed man, thrashing around in the sea as onlookers lying around on the beach watch but do not help, as they believe the frantic man is fooling around and waving to them. Conversely, however, Smith’s poem depicts a much deeper metaphoric meaning of depression, a man’s inner struggle with the ongoing daily pressures of life, and his desperate unanswered cry for help resulting in an ironic kind of living …show more content…
His difficulty to communicate his bottled up emotions left him struggling, barely keeping his head above water and invisible to the people around him. Often the people who need help the most are the ones who seem to need it the least. The third and final stanza, “oh no no no, it was too cold always (still the dead one lay moaning)” shows that the man felt ignored and frozen by the lack of support and warmth of true friendship and understanding for a very, very long time. Smith continues

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